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Bury St Edmunds blacksmith Duncan Drye, of Viking's Forge, credits popular BBC show The Repair Shop for increase in business




A blacksmith from Bury St Edmunds has credited the popular BBC show ‘The Repair Shop’ for the increase he has seen in business.

Duncan Drye owns Viking’s Forge, a blacksmith on Malthouse Lane, and believes the popularity of the hit TV show has meant people are looking to get some of their most cherished items repaired.

“Before I would work on big jobs from production companies,” he said. “But there is also now a lot of small jobs as well, which is taking over [the business].”

Duncan Drye has seen an increase in his blacksmith and repairing business as a result of the increase in popularity of the BBC show The Repair Shop. Picture by Mark Westley.
Duncan Drye has seen an increase in his blacksmith and repairing business as a result of the increase in popularity of the BBC show The Repair Shop. Picture by Mark Westley.

The Repair Shop, which began in 2017, sees experts from the industry restore and repair items from the general public.

Lockdown saw the show grow in popularity, and made the public more aware of the industry and the items they may have stored away.

Duncan said: “They sometimes mention it [the show], but I guess it is an awareness that we need to look after things.”

Duncan Drye has seen an increase in his blacksmith and repairing business as a result of the increase in popularity of the BBC show The Repair Shop. Picture by Mark Westley.
Duncan Drye has seen an increase in his blacksmith and repairing business as a result of the increase in popularity of the BBC show The Repair Shop. Picture by Mark Westley.

Duncan’s skills means he is able to tackle anything that comes to his workshop, which has been based in Malthouse Lane for over 100 years.

The blacksmith industry has been the centre of Duncan’s life, having started his career as a 15-year-old apprentice in the 1960’s.

He said: “I started when I was 15, but I stopped in the 60’s for a little bit before ‘retiring’ 10 years ago.

Dunca Drye in his workshop. Picture by Mark Westley.
Dunca Drye in his workshop. Picture by Mark Westley.

“It was mostly agricultural repairs and general stuff, but then I got into the motorsport industry and building cars in the late part of the 1960’s.”

After a break from the metalworks, he returned to the blacksmith business 10 years ago, and said knowing someone in the production and film industry helped him to get an ‘increased amount of work'.

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a huge amount of challenges for businesses in the town and across the country, but Duncan saw an upturn in the amount of work that he was doing, mainly due to the increased awareness surrounding the industry and people retreating indoors.

“No not at all, in fact I have been very busy,” he said. “Because lots of people have not been out socialising, they have been in their gardens."

Duncan now hopes he can maintain this level of business and success, although he is hoping that it does not go beyond his control.

“I am a one band, so I don’t want it to get to mad, but I can’t control that.”

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